What's the story behind the backmasking on Oingo Boingo's song, "Cry of the Vatos"?
June 1, 2006 8:02 PM   Subscribe

In the Oingo Boingo song "Cry of the Vatos," Danny Elfman says (backwards): "Accept Jesus into your heart and you will saved! You will receive everlasting life! Listen to me, I've sinned, I know." Has anyone ever seen any interviews about this? Was this just a joke on the supposed backwards masking people were "finding" around that time in heavy metal music? Surely Danny Elfman doesn't really believe in God with all the weird movies and music he's put out?
posted by ostranenie to Media & Arts (12 answers total)
How would you know what he believes in? What makes you think you can learn anything whatever about what he believes from his professional output?
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 8:16 PM on June 1, 2006

Best answer: Backmasking is usually blamed for satanic messages, so this message is poking fun at it by doing the opposite. Nothing more.
posted by pmbuko at 8:17 PM on June 1, 2006

Who knows, he may even believe it. It's still a pretty good joke.
posted by caddis at 9:21 PM on June 1, 2006

I think you're stereotyping Christians, ya think? There are loads of thrashmetal, gothpunk and/or otherwise dark Christians -- Jesus is the work necessary for salvation, not one's own public face or outward appearance. Since when are Christians all angels?
posted by vanoakenfold at 9:48 PM on June 1, 2006

Best answer: He's a member of the Church of the Subgenius, and his nephew is a big ol' Scientologist. I vote for tweaking the "satanic" backtracking archetype.
posted by macadamiaranch at 10:10 PM on June 1, 2006

Oh, I think you can learn a lot about what an artist feels about religion by looking at their body of work. On the other hand, many people of faith are not afraid to have a sense of humor about what they believe either. I think the weirdest religious comedy I've ever seen was at a klezmer concert, during which one of the sketches quite lovingly and reverently called god an asshole.

Wikipedia identifies at least Richard and Danny Elfman as Jewish-American, which puts an interesting twist on The Forbidden Zone. Or you can run the argument the other way and cite the number of times Danny Elfman references the afterlife in his songs.

The back-masking is almost certainly a joke. But his personal spiritual beliefs appear to be kept private.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:47 PM on June 1, 2006

I don't know. He has a strong anti-conformist bent. Listen to "Grey Matter" or "I'm On The Outside."

He never puts places his role as that of a sinner, but rather one who has no truck with institutions like Christianity. No apologies for what he is.

To go "with the flock" seems oddly uncharacteristic. But we can't know.
posted by sourwookie at 12:02 AM on June 2, 2006

Surely Danny Elfman doesn't really believe in God with all the weird movies and music he's put out?

That is truly a strange assumption.
posted by glenwood at 5:28 AM on June 2, 2006

I believe in God and I've done some weird-ass shit.
posted by bradn at 7:05 AM on June 2, 2006

Response by poster: So nobody knows, and it's probably a joke. I figured as much.

Glenwood, why is that a strange assumption? He's been working on things like "Forbidden Zone," (a movie where an actress runs around topless, a giant frog dry-humps various characters and he himself plays Satan) and soundtracks for movies like "The Corpse Bride" and "The Nightmare Before Christmas" for years and years.

By the way vanoakenfold, NO Christians are angels - we're all sinners. KirkJobSluder, I think the "afterlife" Danny is thinking of isn't Heaven or Hell, it's more like the wacky, zany anything-goes afterlife in the Michael Keaton vehicle "Beetlejuice."
posted by ostranenie at 8:41 AM on June 2, 2006

It's a strange assumption because there is no correlation between "Works on Projects Involving Nudity and Satan" and "Does Not Believe in God". I recommend you consider Heironymous Bosch and his body of work before making such assumptions.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:47 AM on June 2, 2006

And since we're all sinners, there is no baseline from which to assert Christian-or-not based on behavior, so you answered your own question, perhaps?

Has Danny Elfman put out any movies? I'm a big fan, and AFAIK he has merely written the scores for them -- barely creditable as responsible for the film's content.
posted by vanoakenfold at 1:58 AM on June 3, 2006

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